Exit 82 Theatre Company will host this fast growing Ocean County LGBTQ festival
Come out and celebrate at one of the Jersey Shore’s growing LGBTQ community festivals. This one is in Ocean County and Exit 82 Theatre Company will host the 4th annual Toms River Pride Festival on Saturday, June 11. The festival will feature more than 100 local partners and vendors, The event will take place on Washington Street between Main Street and Hooper Avenue in Toms River’s Downtown District from 11 AM to 5 PM, with live performances happening on the mainstage and at Exit 82 Theatre indoors throughout the day. Plus an evening drag show fundraiser at 7 PM.
“Exit 82 Theatre Company, the Toms River Pride Committee, and our partners are proud to host this growing, inclusive festival every year in the heart of Ocean County, where LGBTQ+ visibility and representation are still sorely needed,” said Toms River Pride Founding Committee Member Evan Phalon.
“With the wave of misguided anti-LGBTQ+ legislation sweeping across the country and the state, let Toms River Pride serve as a reminder for our community and allies to be bold – in every conversation and teachable moment, in our determination for true equality, in our solidarity for communities facing shared struggles, and in living our lives authentically – bold in every color of the rainbow.”
The opening ceremony will include remarks from Grand Marshal and advocate Congressman Andy Kim, a special announcement from Community Medical Center leadership on its new, upcoming LGBTQ services, and the presentation of this year’s Pride Advocate Award recognizing the area’s most impactful LGBTQ advocates and allies. Each award is part of a public nomination process.
Presented by Pride partner B98.5 FM, the festival will host a lip sync competition for a chance to win Lady Gaga tickets, and welcomes top queer artists including Izzy Uncut, Jolina Jasmine, Crystal Envy, The Golden Gays, Milian Mafia, Jon Kindred, Madhavi, Redbird & Dave Vargo, and the Toms River Pride Drum Circle.
The stage and festival area will feature partner activations, educational resources a voter registration drive, family activities, and promotions by local businesses and restaurants throughout the day. To close out the festival, Exit 82 Theatre will host two ticketed drag show fundraisers that evening at 7 PM and 9 PM.
To participate in the annual Pride Month Rainbow Visibility Campaign, supporters are encouraged to display rainbow colors at home, on vehicles and in outfits throughout June. It is anticipated that the 2022 Toms River Pride Festival will exceed last year’s attendee total of roughly 3,400 individuals.
The festival considers the COVID-19 levels in the Ocean County area and encourages people to make conscious decisions regarding masks, vaccinations, and exposures, in line with current mandates by the State of New Jersey. Please note masks are optional and guests are discouraged from attending if feeling ill. If severe weather occurs, the festival will take place the following day on Sunday, June 12th.
For more information including Pride programming, tickets, partnership opportunities and how to get involved, visit Exit 82 Theatre Company’s website at https://www.exit82theatre.com/tr-pride. For event updates, follow the @TomsRiverPride Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TomsRiverPride. View the Toms River Pride Impact Report to see how the festival has grown since 2019, and a list of local LGBTQ+ related resources and specials.